Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Remember how I have been complaining about being in a running slump and just not feeling the joy and excitement anymore?  Well, then I go and do something completely off the deep end.

I'm either completely irrational, completely insane, have amnesia about running pain, or have just gone completely bonkers!  Please don't concur with any of these, I already know the truth.  So what is my problem???


You know what this means now????  BIG TIME TRAINING STARTING PRONTO!!  That will happen this weekend since I'm heading South to run a trail marathon in the beautiful mountains of Moab, Utah!  Oh yeah, I'm ready to go!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Haunted Half Marathon 2013

It's no secret that my monthly mileage has dipped tremendously.  You can just look over there on the sidebar and you will see exactly what I'm talking about-------------------------------------------------->  I have no excuses or reasoning for this other than it's just probably a burn-out issue.  I really truly have enjoyed all the races I've done all year long but I am just so ready to enjoy some Saturday morning sleeping in, especially now that it's getting so chilly.

At this point last year I was already signing up for any race I could get my hands on.  My thinking for 2014 is to leave my calendar a little more open so that I can hopefully experience some more trail racing and also go some places I've never been.  Fast Cory has alerted me to a few interesting runs for next year and we'll just have to see what happens. I'm still planning to do a few local half marathons but I really am ready to hit the dirt a little more and be able to do other races that show up later.  That happened this year and I couldn't do them because my running calendar was already booked. 

Well, so now on to the Haunted Half Marathon.  I HAD A BLAST!  After having over a whole month off of racing I realized this is still fun and I do still enjoy this.  I didn't enjoy the smells of the portapotties though.  Let's be real here.  Our Facebook group, Runner's Anonymous, met up together at the bus loading area up at the Salt Lake City Capitol.  There were 6 of us running and we hung out together until the race started.  We got to the starting line area and for me running is about seeing so many other friends.  Of course I had to go find them and get photos.

 Me, Melanie Maxwell, Denise Graves

 Me, Josh Hansen trying to help me not have to stand on my toes.  He's seriously like 6'4" His costume was a little disgusting but stuff that happens to guy runners.  I'm sure he will blog about it and you will want to hear his version.  Go visit his blog for the gross details.
Laura Madsen, and Molly Bitton, These are friends I've made through the pacing experiences I've had.  Such cute people.
 Julia Hubbard, such a dynamic, sweet runner that inspires me.  I want to be like her! She has a pretty cute little accent too.
 The Headless Horseman that mysteriously meandered around on his horse at the starting line.  A little eery, yet pretty cool too! (I don't know the runners standing there)

This race started at 9:00 am up in Emmigration Canyon.  It was seriously so cold that my hands and feet and body were just completely numb.  Once the race finally started I think I finally thawed out by about mile 3.  It felt so weird to run with frozen feet.  WEIRD I TELL YA!

I had no plans or expectations for my time with this race.  In fact, I just thought it would be so fun to just finally run a complete half marathon with Josh.  We've always run at least part of a race together but rarely if ever have run an entire half marathon together.  So today was the day. 
At around aid station number 2 there were delicious little mini cakes with frosting.  YUMMO!  I may have had three?  They came from a place in Salt Lake called Nothing But Bundt Cakes.  Who needs GU when you can have cake while running?
 Josh has turned into a professional photo bomber. He lays awake at nights figuring out different photo bombing moves.
 Don't mind the chocolate crumbs in my teeth.  I just wanted to save some for later K?
Later on down the course with about 4 miles left we had an apple bobbing aid station.  ICK!  No thanks.  I just took the apple without bobbing.  I know, party pooper.  That apple was awesome, sweet, deliciousness to munch on for the next mile.
 Oh my goodness!! I need to NOT do this pose again.  My neck is looking a bit scary there!
Graveyards are very appropriate to run by when doing a Halloween race.  We even ran right by a funeral home.  Pretty neat-O.  The views up here on this side of Salt Lake were pretty nice. 
As we came around a big bend in the road we started heading down, down, down into the Memory Grove Park area.  We had exactly one mile left to go and it was in this completely tree covered area.  The colors were awesome.  I had encouraged Josh (and maybe even nagged too much) that we needed to just beat the 2:30 pacer, who we kept leap frogging with near the end.  He rocked it and found some strength to finish strong.  We came in with a final time of 2:29:25-Garmin time.
The finish line area was stocked with Pizza, Creamies, mini chocolate bars, and water.  I tried not to indulge too much but needed some deliciousness for all that hard work.
A pumpkin for a finish line run-through?  Yes! Fun!  And what about these glow in the dark medals?  Pretty cute.  This was a great race and my second time running it.  I will probably run it again.  Costume running is definitely more fun.  It's fun to see what other people run in and it helps pass the time too.  Running with my buddy Josh made this race seem a lot faster than 2 1/2 hours as well.  I think I need to do this more often WITH friends by my side.  What a great morning! 


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Running The Alpine Loop

Oh the Alpine Loop!  What an absolutely incredible place to run.  Since I don't have anymore races to run for awhile I decided it was time to put a little bit of mileage in so my body doesn't forget what running feels like.  After all, I still have a couple more races to do before the year ends.  

I've been slacking on my running because I have become majorly addicted to the gym.  I am in love with the rowing machine (I have callouses to prove it)  and I love how much the stairclimber makes me sweat.  But I also realize that to be able to run another half marathon next month and then a full trail marathon in November I better not be too big of a slacker.  

So that brings me to today (Last Saturday).  I have run on part of the Alpine Loop before when I did the Run for Lyle to get to Kona, virtual run.  This time though I wanted to run and explore even more of it.  I've driven this loop multiple times but have never experienced the whole thing on foot.  Maybe someday I'll accomplish that.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Alpine Loop here is a very nice description provided by Wikipedia.

State Route 92, also known in various portions as the Timpanogos Highway, and Alpine Loop Scenic Highway is a scenic state highway in Utah County, Utah that runs from I-15/US-89 near Lehi to US-89 in Provo Canyon. The route is approximately 20 miles long and is the only road with access to Sundance Ski Resort and the Aspen Grove Family Camp and Conference Center sponsored by the BYU Alumni Association. 

The route runs east from Highland and up American Fork Canyon, where it enters the Uinta National Forest. Shortly after, it passes Timpanogos Cave National Monument, a famous group of caves buried in the side of the canyon. The route continues up the canyon and bends to the south where it passes the east side of Mount Timpanogos.  After passing Sundance Ski Resort, the road links up with US-189 in Provo Canyon. 

In my own description it's a beautiful, country, mountain road that barely fits 2 cars.  It winds all over the back side of Mount Timpanogos and has many campgrounds, hiking trail heads and beautiful scenery.  It's a highly traveled road in the Fall when many people are out to see the changing of the leaves. 

So in deciding to do this run to get in some mileage I invited my friend Josh (who I should just start calling my son since I treat him like one) to come along.  He is in the same sort of rut as me with not having many races left for the year and wanting to get some more mileage in.  He was planning to join me and then got some foot injury (which he called Plantar Fettucine-what a goof!) and had to back out the night before.  I was sad and went to bed decided that I wouldn't go up there alone and in the chilling 30 degree weather.  (Utah just got hit with a major cold front with snow in the mountains.)  I had determined I would just hit the gym hard and call it good.  Well, I tossed and turned all night dreaming about running on the Alpine Loop and when I woke up I was still somewhat sad and feeling down that I wasn't going.  Mark asked me what was wrong and I told him my desires for still running up there and how I was sad that I wasn't.  He said "Well get ready to go and I'll take you up there, there's no reason you still can't do it".  I quickly got ready and gathered all my stuff and we headed out the door.  He had to be home quickly for a church function and so we zoomed.  He dropped me off just five miles up the Provo Canyon side at the Aspen Grove Family Camp.  I shed my coat since I had a couple layers on already and kissed him goodbye.  

BOY OH BOY WAS I A HAPPY GIRL!  It was 9:00 am in the morning and the sun was shining and the air was crisp and cool.  The car said 32 degrees when I got out.
The first 9.2 miles of this Alpine Loop is a steady climb until you reach the summit, which is almost the half way point of the 20 mile loop.  Since Mark drove me up the first 5 miles I only had to climb 4.2 to get there.  
Since I strongly dislike uphill running I just decided to call it a good hiking experience and enjoy the scenery along the way.   Once I reached the Summit and took a potty break I was now ready for the rest of the way to be all downhill.

Ignore mile 16.  I really can't run a 4:32 mile.  I forgot to turn off the watch when I got in the car.

In between mile 7 and 8 a big white van pulled up and honked at me.   It was my cousin and husband and her parents and brother and all her 7 children.  They were up there taking the family on their yearly tradition of seeing the leaves on the Alpine Loop.  It was fun to visit with them for a few minutes.  They were going to head down to the red barn in Santaquin to get ice cream after.  They tried multiple times to give me a ride and come along, but of course I declined.

Even though I was running downhill from mile 5 on I never went super fast.  I still just wanted to take this easy and not wear myself out.  This was supposed to just be for enjoying the mountains and recapturing the joy of running.   Sometimes I walked, and sometimes I ran.  It was all good enough for me.
 For some reason I really like signs and so every time I saw one I would stop and take a photo. 

I have a friend who works for and this goat sticker is one of their logos.  I thought it was pretty funny to see that on one of the trailhead markers.  I sent her the photo and she thought it was funny too.

Overall this was an awesome Saturday morning experience.  I am hoping to take advantage of more of them before the weather turns too nasty.  I also enjoyed running without all the hoopla of dealing with packet pick-ups, bus loadings, port-a-potties, way early alarm clocks, and standing around for an hour and a half for a race to start.  Oh and I forgot to mention that this 15.25 miles didn't cost me a half marathon entry fee either.  Hmmmm.........I probably shouldn't get my wheels turning too much or I may just talk myself out of a lot of races next year.   Wait....maybe that is already happening.  

Bring on some peaceful, quiet, beautiful Saturday morning runs.  This I could really get used to.